Stephen F. Austin State University

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SFA's Jacks Council on Family Relations serves community with Thanksgiving Homebound project

November 20, 2015 - University Marketing Communications
Members of Stephen F. Austin State University's Jacks Council on Family Relations are serving more than 100 families with donated food collected through their annual Thanksgiving Homebound project. Pictured top row from left are Dr. Lisa Mize, Child Development and Family Living Program coordinator; Dr. Jennifer Newquist, faculty adviser; Lindsey Stanley, Jacks Council on Family Relations secretary and treasurer; Hillary Rigsby, Jacks Council on Family Relations member; Kelsey Ticer, Jacks Council on Family Relations vice president; and Nancy Rodriguez, Jacks Council on Family Relations member.
NACOGDOCHES, Texas - Stephen F. Austin State University's Jacks Council on Family Relations is serving more than 100 families through its annual Thanksgiving Homebound project.

During the past few weeks, the group asked community and SFA members, organizations and departments to donate Thanksgiving meals to families in its adopted organizations, which includes Solid Foundation, Boys and Girls Club, GETCAP Head Start, and The Family Crisis Center of East Texas. Jacks Council on Family Relations faculty adviser Dr. Jennifer Newquist explained how students collect and distribute the food.

"Students and faculty advisers send out interest letters to organizations on campus, academic departments and individuals asking them to adopt a family," Newquist said. "Once the organization has adopted a family it is given a grocery list. The organization then takes this list and purchases everything needed for a Thanksgiving meal, including a $25 gift card to purchase perishable items such as a turkey."

In 2011, the group started Thanksgiving Homebound as a way to help disadvantaged children in the area for the holidays. In the beginning, the group fed nine families, but since then, this number has grown to more than 100 families.

"Students realized there were several ways they could help families at Christmas but few ways to help during the Thanksgiving holiday," Newquist said. "Students developed the project to make sure children get a great Thanksgiving, too."

Jacks Council on Family Relations works to build networks and help families within the community by learning from each other and professionals within related fields. Currently there are 20 members.

Jacks Council on Family Relations Vice President Kelsey Ticer said this project taught her about teamwork, and she is grateful for the community's support.

"It's great to give back to a community that gives so much to the college students," Ticer said. "This project taught me a lot about giving to those who don't have as much as we do."

A room in the Education Annex on the SFA campus became the hub for Jacks Council on Family Relations members, as they organized food items into containers for delivery. Donated food included: stuffing, yams, rolls, macaroni and cheese, mashed potatoes, cookies, and more. People also were encouraged to give family activities such as board games, cards and coloring books for the families to enjoy.

Jacks Council on Family Relations Secretary and Treasurer Lindsey Stanley said this experience showed her how college students can come together and provide food for families who might not get a Thanksgiving meal.